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Coronavirus update: 15 new cases linked to the Avalon cluster

- December 21, 2020 3 MIN READ
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The premier Gladys Berejiklian has made a plea for people to wear masks, particularly indoors as the Avalon cluster grows by 15 cases overnight.

Five new cases have been linked to the Turramurra Hair Salon, where anyone who has attended the salon between December 15-18 is now urged to get tested. Similarly, anyone who attended the Rose of Australia Hotel in Erskineville on December 15 is encouraged to come forward and get tested as a second case linked to the Avalon cluster was recorded.

Record testing recorded

The premier applauded the state’s residents for coming out in record numbers yesterday, with 38,000 tests recorded.

The premier said the reduction in transmissions overnight was pleasing but it was too early to make a call on what Wednesday’s decision surrounding Christmas restrictions might be.

“To date, every case we have has been linked to the Avalon cluster, although some venues outside of the northern beaches have been impacted.”

The premier has urged people to err on the side of caution and stressed the importance of venues having QR code controls in place. Berejiklian said while the state has some of the best contact tracers on the planet they can’t do their jobs unless they have the details they need. She said some businesses were still using handwritten records which were stymying some contact tracing efforts.

“I plea to everybody – you should not be letting anyone in your front door unless you have your systems in place for anyone walking through the front door.

The premier said she was monitoring the situation on an hourly basis but thanked people for respecting health orders and restrictions to date.

Should we be wearing masks?

There has been much speculation of the past few days as to whether Sydneysiders should be wearing masks. While the premier said masks were not mandatory people should wear masks wherever possible inside.

“In terms of mask-wearing, if you are in an indoor setting – you need to be wearing a mask

If you are going on public transport you need to wear a mask. If you are going grocery shopping you need to wear a mask. We already know what the high-risk areas of transmission are. We know how absolutely contagious this virus is… We have to be as vigilant as ever.”

Stick to the health directions

Chief Health Officer Dr Chant says it’s critical that people adhere to the health directions in place and said that health directions also apply to people who may have left since December 10.

“You must still follow the directions as though you were still in the northern beaches. Be incredibly vigilant and present for testing if you have any symptoms.”

Dr Chant says they have yet to find the source of the infection that led to the seeding event at the Avalon RSL and was amplified to the Avalon bowling club and other venues in the vicinity of the northern beaches.

While community transmission seems to to have been contained to the Avalon cluster, Chant said the community cannot afford to be complacent.

“Respect the health orders, if you have symptoms get tested. We can have no complacency across the Greater Sydney region and the whole of NSW. If you have the mildest of symptoms get tested and self-isolate ‘til you have a negative result.”

Stay home

Health Minister Brad Hazzard reminded the Northern Beaches community they should be staying at home unless they needed to leave for one of the following reasons:

  • If they have to go to work.
  • They have to go out for education
  • Or for health or compassionate reasons or for exercise.

“Most of the people are doing that. Most of the Northern Beaches villages look like ghost towns,” Hazzard said.

The minister also wanted to address the QR code issue saying contact tracers can only do their jobs if they have the info they need.

“Some visitors of a venue think it’s funny to put Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse or a fake phone number. And thinking it’s smart to call yourself Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse  is about as stupid as you get.”

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